Care of the Dying Doctor: On the Other End of the Stethoscope

Erik Fromme, J. Andrew Billings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The challenges of caring for a dying doctor reflect both common issues in helping the terminally ill and unique problems in working with a physician-patient. The dying doctor must deal with a familiar environment and set of problems from a radically different perspective and must negotiate overlapping and conflicting personal and professional roles. Some of the cardinal virtues of physicians-professional identity, expertise, perfectionism, selflessness, and stoicism-may pose both strengths and liabilities in the patient's role. The treating physicians may also encounter new strains in caring for a colleague. They must guard against both overinvolvement and underinvolvement, and, as with all dying persons, they must serve as a guide through unfamiliar territory for dying patient and family - a companion who is not afraid to listen to or explore the most upsetting matters, a person who can speak frankly when others may be ignoring "the horse on the dining room table." The case of Dr B, an internist dying of myelofibrosis and congestive heart failure, whose son is also a physician, offers the reader the opportunity to reflect on these challenges and to draw lessons about how to best care for fellow physicians at a time of great need. We suggest strategies for negotiating the patient-physician relationship when the patient is also a physician.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2048-2055
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Medical Association
Volume290
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2003
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Stethoscopes
Physicians
Physician-Patient Relations
Professional Role
Terminally Ill
Primary Myelofibrosis
Negotiating
Nuclear Family
Horses
Heart Failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Care of the Dying Doctor : On the Other End of the Stethoscope. / Fromme, Erik; Billings, J. Andrew.

In: Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 290, No. 15, 15.10.2003, p. 2048-2055.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fromme, Erik ; Billings, J. Andrew. / Care of the Dying Doctor : On the Other End of the Stethoscope. In: Journal of the American Medical Association. 2003 ; Vol. 290, No. 15. pp. 2048-2055.
@article{a45d9ad57c514d76ae7aa807b3b64a6d,
title = "Care of the Dying Doctor: On the Other End of the Stethoscope",
abstract = "The challenges of caring for a dying doctor reflect both common issues in helping the terminally ill and unique problems in working with a physician-patient. The dying doctor must deal with a familiar environment and set of problems from a radically different perspective and must negotiate overlapping and conflicting personal and professional roles. Some of the cardinal virtues of physicians-professional identity, expertise, perfectionism, selflessness, and stoicism-may pose both strengths and liabilities in the patient's role. The treating physicians may also encounter new strains in caring for a colleague. They must guard against both overinvolvement and underinvolvement, and, as with all dying persons, they must serve as a guide through unfamiliar territory for dying patient and family - a companion who is not afraid to listen to or explore the most upsetting matters, a person who can speak frankly when others may be ignoring {"}the horse on the dining room table.{"} The case of Dr B, an internist dying of myelofibrosis and congestive heart failure, whose son is also a physician, offers the reader the opportunity to reflect on these challenges and to draw lessons about how to best care for fellow physicians at a time of great need. We suggest strategies for negotiating the patient-physician relationship when the patient is also a physician.",
author = "Erik Fromme and Billings, {J. Andrew}",
year = "2003",
month = "10",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1001/jama.290.15.2048",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "290",
pages = "2048--2055",
journal = "JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association",
issn = "0002-9955",
publisher = "American Medical Association",
number = "15",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Care of the Dying Doctor

T2 - On the Other End of the Stethoscope

AU - Fromme, Erik

AU - Billings, J. Andrew

PY - 2003/10/15

Y1 - 2003/10/15

N2 - The challenges of caring for a dying doctor reflect both common issues in helping the terminally ill and unique problems in working with a physician-patient. The dying doctor must deal with a familiar environment and set of problems from a radically different perspective and must negotiate overlapping and conflicting personal and professional roles. Some of the cardinal virtues of physicians-professional identity, expertise, perfectionism, selflessness, and stoicism-may pose both strengths and liabilities in the patient's role. The treating physicians may also encounter new strains in caring for a colleague. They must guard against both overinvolvement and underinvolvement, and, as with all dying persons, they must serve as a guide through unfamiliar territory for dying patient and family - a companion who is not afraid to listen to or explore the most upsetting matters, a person who can speak frankly when others may be ignoring "the horse on the dining room table." The case of Dr B, an internist dying of myelofibrosis and congestive heart failure, whose son is also a physician, offers the reader the opportunity to reflect on these challenges and to draw lessons about how to best care for fellow physicians at a time of great need. We suggest strategies for negotiating the patient-physician relationship when the patient is also a physician.

AB - The challenges of caring for a dying doctor reflect both common issues in helping the terminally ill and unique problems in working with a physician-patient. The dying doctor must deal with a familiar environment and set of problems from a radically different perspective and must negotiate overlapping and conflicting personal and professional roles. Some of the cardinal virtues of physicians-professional identity, expertise, perfectionism, selflessness, and stoicism-may pose both strengths and liabilities in the patient's role. The treating physicians may also encounter new strains in caring for a colleague. They must guard against both overinvolvement and underinvolvement, and, as with all dying persons, they must serve as a guide through unfamiliar territory for dying patient and family - a companion who is not afraid to listen to or explore the most upsetting matters, a person who can speak frankly when others may be ignoring "the horse on the dining room table." The case of Dr B, an internist dying of myelofibrosis and congestive heart failure, whose son is also a physician, offers the reader the opportunity to reflect on these challenges and to draw lessons about how to best care for fellow physicians at a time of great need. We suggest strategies for negotiating the patient-physician relationship when the patient is also a physician.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0142120097&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0142120097&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1001/jama.290.15.2048

DO - 10.1001/jama.290.15.2048

M3 - Article

C2 - 14559959

AN - SCOPUS:0142120097

VL - 290

SP - 2048

EP - 2055

JO - JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association

JF - JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association

SN - 0002-9955

IS - 15

ER -